I find myself sitting in the same place I spent so much time at two years ago in Southeast Asia.
I would come here to study things of interest, but oftentimes I would simply sit and do nothing.
Having tried to do what I thought I was supposed to in the world, and sensing the futility in this, I stopped “trying” altogether.
What’s interesting is that this was never really a conscious decision.
I never thought to myself: “This can’t work, and so I shall stop.”
I just stopped. With little despair, and zero panic.
This reminds me of when I stopped trying early on in high school. I recall falling behind in math due to lack of attendance, and deciding without deciding that it was completely pointless to “catch up”.
It was painfully obvious to me that the teacher’s main concern was to simply get through the curriculum in time. I also knew that advanced mathematics would serve no purpose in my life (and I was right).
And so I just stopped doing the work. Everything else was crumbling in my life at this point — what was a little extra dust sprinkled on top?
There was something else going on, too. Something I wasn’t quite aware of back then. And that was this:
I felt above it all. Even when I knew most people around me felt otherwise. I knew it was a waste of time. I knew I was capable of so much more. And for this reason, I likely still hold the record for worst attendance among graduates of that school to date.
I knew I could play “catch up” in record time if need be. My game was to minimize my time at school as much as practically possible, rather than dropping out completely.
My rebellious streak in high school didn’t stop there, and it ended up creating many problems for me. But I always just kept pushing through.
I could never follow the rules “just because”. I knew my path in life would be my own, because that’s the only thing I’m capable of.
As for now, I find myself in a familiar place as a completely different man.
I was lost because I didn’t understand myself. I didn’t understand myself because I never had the opportunity.
Perhaps I was afraid to look at myself because the world spent so many years trying to tell me that who I am is “wrong” or undesirable.
When it feels like the entire world is against you, do you really want to know why?
A person like me creates nothing but problems for those who would have you with your head down, afraid to question authority.
I don’t even “question” authority — something within me just knows it to be false, and my actions follow accordingly.
Those that seek power and control external to themselves do so precisely because they have no power or control within.
I could never look up to those who have the need to be seen a certain way: intelligent, beautiful, powerful, wise, wealthy — or any other ideal.
The very fact they chase such images and ideals reveals it’s not who they truly are.
What it really is, is an attempt to disguise the brokenness within as something else.
To conceal it from the world, yes — but most of all, to conceal it from themselves.
I have much more respect for the degenerate who calls himself such, without an ounce of pleasure, than for the one who seeks to convince the world his image is something it should desire.
Knowing these truths is largely why I’ve stopped chasing in my own life. I do not seek to please those whom I had in the past.
People may seem to appreciate it on the surface, but something within them recognizes the charade. And charades repulse human beings. Even those who’s entire lives are charades. These are the most miserable people on earth.
If you are a sloth, so be it. If you’re a reckless hedonist, so be it.
If you do not know where you currently stand, then you may direct your gaze towards the ground below your feet, if you wish.
If it repulses you, then you will step away without giving it a thought.
But the second you try to tell the world you’re over there, when you’re really over here, you will immediately repel those privy to such things.
And the truth is all human beings are privy to such things. Whether they realize it or not.
The ones who will celebrate your lies are the ones which live in lies themselves.
And in actuality, they do not celebrate you, or your lies.
What they celebrate is that they’ve found another caught in the web, just like themselves. And so maybe their failure isn’t so bad after all. Maybe their dread is unfounded. Maybe they’re actually onto something.
It comes to my attention that perhaps the seeking of certain identities and self-images is no different than seeking the various pleasures of the world.
Neither have the ability to truly satisfy. And so once attained, the recipient feels abandoned, lied to, disappointed.
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” and, “I thought things would be different.“
When I walk past tourists on the street — or when I see them walking past me, as I sit here now: they’re always looking for something.
And that which they’re looking for can never satisfy.
You can see it in their eyes, darting around:
Is this what I came here to see?
What about this?
Where’s the next experience?
Where can I take another photo I’ll never look at?
And when the novelty wears off, when they’ve had their fill of culture and food: disappointment sets in, and they’re ready to go home.
This is the problem with lofty expectations.
I don’t blame the tourists as much as I blame the travel industry, Instagram and the like, for selling the world yet another chase to go on.
Lies setting people up for falls.